Final Thesis: Confused Modeling at Eva’s Way (Teaching Case)

Abstract: The importance of shared understanding and unambiguity in specifying system requirements is widely acknowledged. This work presents a case study, written in the form of a Harvard Business Case, which traces the steps of a young start-up in their attempt to build a web shop system for a multi-level marketing business. The company operates as a direct selling channel for jewelry that is built by recruiting new distributors to form a social network through which the products are sold. The Product Manager failed to clearly communicate to the developers the specifics of this particular sales model that essentially defined how the web shop system should behave. The lack of formal product specification, the inconsistent usage of terminology, and the omission of detailed specification of critical features challenged further the development process. This work introduces constructive tools, such as domain glossary and formal UML models, which can help avoiding false interpretations by developers prior to and at implementation time. It also shows how to apply user feedback to steer the process of revision and enhancement of a web shop product.

Keywords: Multi-level marketing, sales funnel, requirements specification

Reference: Lora Todorova. Confused Modeling at Eva’s Way. Master Thesis, Friedrich-Alexander-Universität Erlangen-Nürnberg: 2013.